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Paul Ryan accidentally tells the truth, rejects bipartisanship

House Speaker Paul Ryan slipped up and said what his critics have long assumed: he doesn't want to work with Democrats on bipartisan solutions.
House Speaker Paul Ryan speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 23, 2016. (Photo by Yuri Gripas/Reuters)
House Speaker Paul Ryan speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 23, 2016.

U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, the top Republican in Congress, said he does not want President Donald Trump to work with Democrats on new legislation for revamping the country's health insurance system, commonly called Obamacare.In an interview with "CBS This Morning" that will air on Thursday, Ryan said he fears the Republican Party, which failed last week to come together and agree on a healthcare overhaul, is pushing the president to the other side of the aisle so he can make good on campaign promises to redo Obamacare.

Referring to Trump's newfound willingness to talk to Democrats about possible changes to the Affordable Care Act, Ryan told CBS, "I don't want that to happen." The Speaker added that if the White House were to pursue bipartisan policymaking, "that's hardly a conservative thing."This has all the makings of a Michael Kinsley Moment: a politician making a mistake by accidentally telling the truth.Indeed, even some Republicans were taken aback by Paul Ryan's unexpected candor. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said on Twitter this morning, "We have come a long way in our country when the speaker of one party urges a president NOT to work with the other party to solve a problem."At a certain level, I can appreciate the reasoning behind the Wisconsin congressman's concerns. If Donald Trump sat down with Democratic leaders to have substantive negotiations over health care policy, Paul Ryan knows -- in fact, we all know -- it'd be very easy for Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and others to exploit the president's ignorance and receive all kinds of concessions.Indeed, Ryan knows this because he's already exploited Trump's lack of preparedness, getting him to embrace a health care plan that broke every promise Trump made to the country as a candidate.But that doesn't make the Speaker's comments any easier to defend. It'd be one thing if Ryan privately told members of the House Freedom Caucus, "Let's work something out before Trump starts talking to Democrats"; it's something else for the Speaker of the House to tell a national television audience he's opposed to bipartisan policymaking. And yet, here we are.